OTTAWA - The Carleton Ravens were pushed to the limit on Friday night by a sharpshooting University of Varsity Blues team but came out on top with a 75-70 victory.
The Blues shot 38.6% from the field and hit 13 three-pointers as they pushed the Ravens into deep water. After Aleer Aleer-Leek made two from the free throw line late in the third quarter the Ravens found themselves down 8 before chipping away at the lead. Over the last 13 minutes of the game the Ravens would generate a thirteen point swing which included 4 points from rookie Khalifa Koulamallah.
For Koulamallah, his pair of fourth quarter free throws would put the Ravens ahead for good. Asked about Koulamallah's perfect, coach Charles gave the young Raven credit for being ready when called upon. "He showed up and he did what he needed to do, he played with confidence." In ten minutes on the floor, Koulamallah had 1 rebound to go along with his 4 points.
For the Ravens, the challenge from a gritty Varsity Blues team is no surprise, among the top shooting schools in the OUA, the Blues flexed their three point muscle throughout the night forcing Carleton to adjust with a line up which lacked guard Alain Louis.
"Obviously this is not the type of game we love having, but it's important to understanding where we're at right now," said Ravens leader Lloyd Pandi. Focussing on Saturday's rematch, Pandi feels the team needs to continue to adapt. "I felt like everyone had to step up and adapt accordingly," said Pandi. "Certain guys may not have expected their role today, because they weren't too sure if [Alain] was going to play today, but this is a game of runs, a game of basketball and you never know what's ahead of you so you've always got to be ready."
The Ravens won't have much time to get ready for the rematch, the Varsity Blues return to the Ravens' Nest Saturday at 5:00 p.m.